Trip Report: Cross Country Skiing Trillium Lake, Mt Hood, Oregon
Location: Trillium Lake
Conditions: Sunny and dry.
Duration: Two hours plus travel time.
Kid Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
I had some friends visiting from out of town and wanted to take them out and explore Oregon. They hadn’t brought any gear with them and we were kind of looking to do things on a budget. Cross country skiing at Trillium Lake was the perfect solution. We stopped in at Next Adventure Sandy on our way and got outfitted with skis, boots, and poles. If you’re new to winter sports cross country skiing is a really nice way to get started. There’s no cost for a lift ticket, nor do you need a helmet or goggles. Next Adventure’s Cross Country Package is just $25 a day. If you rent from Sandy, make sure to grab a doughnut from Joe’s just down the road. They also sell Sno Park Daily Permits, which you’ll need.
Trillium Lake is a great trail for beginner cross country skiers. The loop around the lake is 3.6 miles. To get from the parking lot to the loop trail is .4 miles, which you can either walk or ski. The hardest part of the day is descending this downhill section from the parking lot to the trail. We ended up walking some of it. The trail around the lake is flat and much easier to ski. Depending on how busy it is, there may already be nicely groomed tracks to follow. Navigation is easy, as you’re basically on one path the entire time. If you go left at the start the trees soon open up and there’s a stunning view of Mt. Hood. I prefer to go right, ending with the view of Hood as a reward for a hard day’s work. This is also a great place to have a snack before heading home or skiing around the loop again.
Depending on how fast you ski the loop can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. We saw a handful of other people, some hiking, one group with a sled, and plenty of dogs. The parking lot can fill up on weekends so you might want to get on the road early. We went on a weekday and it wasn’t crowded at all. For new skiers who might be more prone to falling, snow pants and gloves will keep you warm and dry. The Next Adventure Bargain Basement at the Grand Ave. location is a great place to get used gloves and snow pants at a fraction of the price. Sunglasses are useful to protect against the glare from the snow, and sunscreen might be a good option if you burn easily. Other than that, bring water and snacks as you would on any day trip, and enjoy yourself! There are food carts by Next Adventure Sandy which makes for a good spot to grab lunch after returning your gear.